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Mr. Beast

Mogwai

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Album Review

Possibly the most accessible yet sophisticated album Mogwai has released, Mr. Beast strips away most of the electronic embellishment of their recent work in favor of a back-to-basics sound that returns to and expands on the approach they pioneered on Young Team. Mr. Beast is also a surprisingly spontaneous-sounding album — in the best possible sense, its freshness makes it feel like a recorded practice session and also helps give relatively delicate pieces like "Team Handed" the same amount of impact that heavy, searing tracks like the closer, "We're No Here," have. Interestingly, more of Mr. Beast tends toward the former kind of song than the latter; "Friend of the Night," "Emergency Trap," and the glorious, slow-burning album opener, "Auto-Rock," give the album an unusually refined, even elegant feel that is underscored by the prominent use of piano and lap steel in the arrangements. On songs like "Acid Food" and the magnificent "I Chose Horses" — which features cavernously deep bass and spoken word vocals by Tetsuya Fukagawa from the Japanese hardcore band Envy — Mr. Beast feels downright pastoral. However, Mogwai doesn't give up their heavy side entirely, as the aforementioned "We're No Here" and "Glasgow Mega-Snake" show; any song that has either "mega" or "snake" in the title should rock, and this one does, kicking off with a claustrophobic snarl of guitars that makes this one of the most intense pieces Mogwai has ever recorded. Mr. Beast manages to be immediate without sounding dumbed-down..

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The cosmic post-rock band Mogwai were formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1996 by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist Dominic Aitchison, and drummer Martin Bulloch, longtime friends with the goal of creating "serious guitar music." Toward that end they added another guitarist, John Cummings, before debuting in March 1996 with the single "Tuner," a rarity in the Mogwai discography for its prominent vocals; the follow-up, a split single with Dweeb titled "Angels vs. Aliens," landed in the...
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